A rugged route though a pretty forest and around scenic Terrace Pond with a lot of scrambling and some potentially tricky wet crossings.
5.3 miles – moderate to challenging depending on your experience – the distance isn’t long but the trail surface is rocky and with seasonally wet crossings.
- Also from this lot: Terrace Pond South, Wawayanda State Park – Old Coal Trail.
- Nearby: Terrace Pond North, Bearfort Ridge – Surprise Lake.
Our two cents:
This route has a decent amount of scrambling and wet crossings and is not going to be everyone’s cup-o-tea.
Casual la-di-da stroll in the woods this is not. Would not recommend in icy conditions.
On the north side of the pond on the BLUE/WHITE section, there was a large blow-down to negotiate followed by a large wet area.
The YELLOW trail at the end is a combo of woods road and rocky wet trail.
Though you’ll see people doing it, swimming in Terrace Pond is not allowed – it’s patrolled and ticketed.
The sides of the pond are somewhat high above the water on rock ledges in most spots, it’s not like you can walk into the water from a beach.
It can be dangerous and several people have drowned. In addition, it’s difficult for Search & Rescue to reach this remote location quickly.
Parking: N41 08.573 W74 24.446 [P7 lot]
West Milford, Passaic County. Rt 287 to exit 52, then Rt 23 towards Butler.
Pass the sign for Wawayanda that says to turn right onto Union Valley Road – that’s for the main entrance. Instead go a little further down 23 and turn right onto Clinton Road.
The parking lot is 7.5 miles north of Rt 23, pass the Reservoir and some other small parking areas marked P1, P2 etc.
The lot is just past the sign/gate for the Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Center – and is just a large dirt area on the left with a small “P7” sign.
The trailhead is across the street, the YELLOW and BLUE markers are obvious.
There is a large bench and trail kiosk with information and a map of the trails. No paper maps, be sure to bring your own.
*Parking lot note… The trailhead parking lots are all marked now, P1 through P7, so it’s much easier to find the right lot now.
None. Best bet is a gas station on Rt 23 in Butler.
A long, challenging loop that joins a hike to Terrace Pond with with a loop in the main part of Wawayanda can be found in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City.
Overview: BLUE (Terrace Pond North) – BLUE/WHITE – WHITE (Terrace Pond Circular) – YELLOW DOT – YELLOW (Terrace Pond South)
0.0 – Walk across the street from the lot, there
are BLUE and YELLOW blazes and the bench/sign. Bear LEFT and start following BLUE (Terrace Pond North).
The BLUE trail is mostly level at first, crossing some wet areas on large rocks.
0.7 – Turn RIGHT onto a pipeline cut and continue following BLUE, which goes uphill at the edge of the woods, along the pipeline cut.
0.8 – Turn RIGHT off the pipeline and back into the woods. Continue follow BLUE as it scrambles up.
1.2 – Off to the right, scramble up some rocks for a view to the west. Return to the BLUE trail, crossing some wet areas on large rocks.
1.4 – Arrive at the junction of BLUE (Terrace Pond North) and WHITE (Terrace Pond Circular) near Terrace Pond. Veer to the LEFT to start following BLUE/WHITE. [WHITE goes off to the right].
The trail drops downhill and through/over a large downed tree and a very wet area, before scrambling up a steep rock.
1.5 – Walk over to the right out to a viewpoint over Terrace Pond.
1.6 – Long, deep, potentially difficult wet crossing. Marked as “seasonally wet” on the TC map.
There are logs to step on, and the edge of the bank – but it can be tricky.
We did this after some rain and the logs were rolling and floating. At one point I put my trekking pole in and it sunk half-way down into muck.
The trail heads back up with some scrambling.
1.7 – Turn RIGHT, now following only WHITE (Terrace Pond Circular).
[BLUE (Terrace Pond North) goes to the left]
Just ahead on the right are two good breakspots with views of the lake.
1.8 – A short unmarked path goes over to a wide viewpoint of the pond (TerracePond4 in the GPX).
Retrace your steps, continuing on WHITE (Terrace Pond Circular).
2.2 – Turn LEFT and start following YELLOW DOT.
2.9 – Continue straight on YELLOW DOT, as RED (Terrace Pond Red) goes to the left.
[RED is co-joined with YELLOW DOT for just a bit before leaving to the right, so there are red blazes straight as well.]
3.2 – YELLOW DOT ends at YELLOW. Continue straight, now following YELLOW.
[YELLOW also continues back to the right]
A large swampy area is on the right, with lots of evidence of beaver activity – the water is damned and is actually higher than the trail and there are several beaver lodges on the water.
Cross a large drainage pipe and the trail turns off to the left to avoid an eroded area.
The trail becomes a woods road along YELLOW.
3.5 – The YELLOW trail turns sharply to the RIGHT.
3.8 – The YELLOW trail turns to the RIGHT.
Continue following YELLOW back to the parking lot as it heads through some rhododendron tunnels, crossing wet areas rocks and rickety planking, and two rock-hop stream crossings.
Hiked: 10/21/12 – Trail Blog: “Terrace Pond – Wawayanda State Park“